Joan Hall, Director, is a Tucson resident of eight years. She is a microfinance consultant and has worked all over the world. She served on nonprofit boards since 2010, including her neighborhood association board. She joined the Iskashitaa board in 2014. She is committed to improving the lives of the refugees with whom Iskashitaa works, and to making Iskashitaa a more sustainable organization with greater outreach so as to benefit more refugees.
Anne Padias, Secretary, is an organic polymer chemist by profession, and has taught organic chemistry lectures and labs at the University of Arizona for more than twenty years. Originally from Belgium and proud to be Flemish, she came to Tucson in the mid 70’s. After receiving her PhD from Ghent University in Belgium, she worked in the Chemistry Department as a researcher for almost 20 years before beginning to teach. As an Iskashitaa Board member, she helps with writing grants and is also secretary of the Board. Food preservation and conservation are essential in helping others achieve food security, and as an immigrant herself, she is very interested in helping new refugees integrate in US society.
Kay A. Bauman, Treasurer, MD, MPH is a retired family practice physician who served primarily in academic medicine, first at University of Arizo, then at the University of Hawaii, and finally at the University of New Mexico. Kay served as a migrant health physician in Arizona and South Texas also at the El Rio Neighborhood Health Center. Her last years of service were in Correctional Medicine, when she was Medical Director of all prisons and jails in Hawaii and in New Mexi. Kay's major areas of interest/expertise in medicine include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, immunble diseases, health care to the LGBT population and cross-cultural medicine, a requirement in Hawaii! Kay is the mother of four daughters, grandmother to ten grandchildren. She is a member of St. Francis in the Foothills UMC and is now back in Tucson for two and a half years.
Bereketab Mehari is a graduate student at the University of Arizona Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He is originally from Eritrea and has lived in Tucson since 2011. A pharmacist by training, he previously worked in teaching, community pharmacy, drug regulation and drug management systems. He has also participated in the development of a clinical trial guideline, maternal commodity assurance and tobacco control programs in Eritrea. As a member of the Iskashitaa board, Bereket is very interested in the role of the organization in creating a welcoming environment for refugees and an opportunity for cultural exchange.
Steve De Gregorio is an architect by training whose career has wended its way through scientific computer programming, interior design, physical security systems, and IT project management. He currently works as a Program Planner at Raytheon in Tucson. A native of New York City, his graduate work in CAD systems led him to work with Iskashitaa's early GIS mapping efforts. But his overriding interest in food security (not to mention sustainable and good-tasting food!) has kept him connected with Iskashitaa on and off over the years. Back in Tucson again (for the fourth time in over twenty years), Steve has joined the Iskashitaa board to help streamline computer database usage so that staff members can focus more of their time on working directly with volunteers and clients.
Tilahun Liben was playing saxophone in a nightclub in Nazareth, Ethiopia but had to flee due to a political situation in the country. He left Ethiopia to the Kenyan refugee camp Kakuma in 2000, when fear struck, when political pressure began, and finally, after persecution was forced to leave everything behind to seek safety for himself and his family. After ten trying years in the Kakuma refugee camp, where he cared for edible trees that he still checks on via social media, he was resettled in Tucson. While volunteering with Owl and Panther he met Natalie and Barbara from Iskashitaa Refugee Network. Then the great news came, he found his wife and baby (then taller than he) and they were later reunited in Tucson. Iskashitaa has brought him happiness, lifelong friendships, plenty of fruits and vegetables for him and his family, and the opportunity to give back to many Ethiopians, Eritreans and other refugee families. He serves as an Iskashitaa ethnic community organizer and still distributes fruits and vegetables at his church to twenty-five or so families each week.
Norm Weber was born in St. Louis Mo., attended Elmhurst College then the University of Missouri to receive his M.D. He then earned Master’s in Public Health. Norm served in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, and helped start one of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioner programs. He served in private practice in Tucson, AZ and Olympia, Washington until his retirement in the 1990s. Norm is married, has nine grandchildren and is a member of St. Francis in the Foothills, UMC. He has served on other Boards, including Tucson Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Interfaith Coalition for Homeless and Childbirth Education. He is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He is pleased and honored to serve on the Iskashitaa Board as Iskashitaa’s mission coincides with his life’s work.
Robbie Dick was born in the Roaring Twenties in Ely, Nevada, a mining town in the northeastern Nevada high desert. She earned a degree in chemistry with a minor in math from Occidental College and worked as a chemist for a while. Then Robbie discovered she could work as a waitress and travel! So she did! First to National Parks all over and then to South America on a steamer. After marrying and having kids she and her family travelled to camp in Mexico and Europe. She has always contributed to the social activism of the Methodist Church most significantly, she and her husband were very active in the Citizen Diplomacy work at St. Francis. This involved fifteen trips to the Soviet Union to encourage dialog in an attempt to end the cold war. They have visited over twenty countries on several continents since 1995. In her lifetime of travel Robbie found that people may look different, eat different foods, and speak different languages, but are all basically the same wonderful human beings. That is why she feels passionate about Iskashitaa’s important effort, to interact with refugees and learn from them, as they learn from us. And she feels she has lived through too many wars. She wisely believes that if we get to know each other, we have a better chance for peace.
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